In 2017, the World Economic Forum published the Digital Transformation Initiative – Mining and Metals Industry white paper. According to the research, there are four digital themes that will be crucial to the modernisation of the mining sector:
Automation, robotics, and operational hardware
Integrated enterprise, platforms, and ecosystems
Next-generation analytics and decision support
For this article, we will be focusing on how mining equipment, technology, and services (METS) businesses can create their own digitally-enabled workforce.
A digitally-enabled workforce is one that utilizes innovations such as wearable technologies like tablets, wearable glasses, watches and vital trackers, as well as putting up remote operation centers, and adopting other technologies to streamline field operations.
Impressive connectivity and mobile advancements have led to practices such as digital simulation training, virtual collaboration, and the use of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). These technologies, such as smart wear, provide workers with real-time information, allows them to capture this critical information just as quickly, while connecting them to the sensors, robotics, and other systems within the mines.
This seamless communication also offers immediate remote assistance, diagnosis or access instructions for equipment repair in mine and plant management. The remote operation centers are also receivers of this communication, offering a place where workers can collaborate and control operations off-site with the help of video feeds and other digital tools for monitoring. These hubs also collect data and integrate different data sources to ensure that workers can make smart decisions based on real-time mine conditions.
An article by Transform listed down the following benefits of digital transformation for the mining industry:
Improved workforce safety and productivity
Better work-life balance
Enhanced risk mitigation
Further reduced environmental impacts
In increasingly mobile mining operations, unique applications have also become highly effective in connecting the workforce. TOKN, a provider of custom mobile apps for businesses in the mining industry, shared that goal of these technologies is to eliminate disruption.
“Given the ever-changing circumstances of 2020, we are right in the middle of a fundamental shift in the way organisations operate and remain connected without being physically present. The future of every industry, including the mining industry, is digital. Communicating between, people, systems and things, if not already, will have to be digitised in order for organisations to remain functional,” shared Yolande Couderc, Business Development
Along with mobile resource planning (MRP) services such as TOKN’s offerings, there comes an ERP solution to tie it all in together. ERP systems link all these devices and systems into one platform to give a singular view of the business and its operations.
“TOKN's platform allows connections between systems and people to occur without disruption. As a vendor of software, we require support from ERP consultancies such AlphaBiz to ensure EPR clients are aware of our solution and how it can be used to drive efficiencies and employee engagement. Companies embarking on their digital transformation journey need the expertise of consultancies to help them in selecting the right technology solutions and need platform technology to ensure those systems can be connected and accessed on multiple devices,” added Couderc.